Just because ATS is populated by Conspiracy Theorists, tinfoil hat wearers, alien contactees, hardened skeptics, cryptid enthusiasts, and other
assorted free thinkers and nuts does not mean that it needs to be full of unpleasant conflict even within the terms of the T&C. Here’s my guide for
a kinder, gentler, nicer
When starting a thread:
1. Be original. This means SEARCH. If you have trouble with the Search function, u2u any Mod or use the complaint/suggestion function to get help. The
staff will be delighted to help you figure out if what you want to post has been posted before, and show you where, if it means they don’t have to
deal with another duplicate thread and the resulting complaints. Odds are excellent that the fantastic youtube video, alien interview, or conspiracy
expose you’ve discovered has already been seen and discussed on ATS - unless the original is very new.
2. Lay your cards on the table. If you have evidence, show it up front, in your first post. No matter how excited you are, wait until the evidence is
ready to be included before you post. If you need help with the evidence, u2u a Mod for help before
you post. ATS’ers don’t take kindly to
attempts at suspenseful threads. If you don’t have any evidence, say so. Your experience (and your honesty) will still be considered and respected
3. Don’t lie or misrepresent. No matter how smart or clever you are, you aren’t smarter than the collective membership of ATS. Lies, hoaxes,
fakes, and misrepresentations of fact will be discovered, in most cases sooner rather than later, and exposed. Just tell the truth and give us the
real facts to the best of your ability. Besides, in the long run that’s much easier than trying to keep your story straight, especially when the ATS
“detectives” start asking hard questions.
4. Avoid superlatives and absolutes. 100%, best ever, most compelling, undeniable, absolute proof, startling, awesome, etc. are all trigger words to
ATSers. Yes, the skeptics may come swarming to your thread to take on the implied challenge, but even if you’re a points hound keep in mind that
you’ll have to annoy a lot of people to get as many points as you would by just impressing one Mod or SME (Subject Matter Expert) enough to get an
Applause. Words like interesting, unusual, odd, curious, puzzling, weird, etc. generate much less antagonism and they’re usually more accurate
anyway. Don’t use all captials, exclamation points, or other forms of inflammatory or artificially “exciting” tricks or punctuation (like using
aLtErNaTe caps, excessive bolding or italics, etc.)
5. Don’t expect your evidence to be accepted without question, and don’t take it personally when it is questioned. Some people won’t believe
anything until they can see it, touch it, analyze it, put it under a microscope, and run lab tests on it. Your photograph or video probably isn’t
going to change anyone’s mind no matter how good it is, and in fact, the better it is, the more likely it is that someone will cry “hoax” or
“CGI.” Understand that before you post, and if you can’t deal with it, don’t post. Much more mundane things than whatever it is you’re
posting about are difficult - if not impossible - to prove
with just a picture. For example:
6. Don’t ask stupid questions. You’ll only get stupid answers. To those who say there are no stupid questions, I submit that you are wrong. There
are three types of stupid questions, and here they are: a) a question you already know the answer to. b) a question you think you know the answer to
(i. e. will accept only one answer as correct). c) a question for which there is no answer. If you have a real question that you want to get our
opinions on, accept every answer you are given whether you agree with it or not. After all, they took the time and trouble to answer you; at least
respect their time and effort even if you don’t respect the answer. If you don’t like the answer, just thank them for it anyway and move on.
7. Post in the appropriate forum, and if you aren’t sure of the appropriate forum, ask a Mod. Using the most active or popular forums to post your
thread in the hope that it will get more attention will result only in your thread being moved (or trashed!) by the mods.
When replying to a thread:
1. Don’t say “hoax” or “fake” or “fail.” without backup. If you remember seeing this before or know exactly what it is, say so and find
the previous thread or reference and include it in your post. If you can’t, you’re probably better off just denying the thread attention and
contributing to its early demise by not posting at all. Besides, your post of “this is so fake I could photoshop better” is only going to start an
argument and won’t convince anyone of anything. In fact, it may have the opposite of the desired effect by encouraging people to come to the
2. Don’t insult the poster. As mentioned above, it will only start arguments and cause people to come to the defense of the poster. No one will be
impressed, and real insults and derogatory comments are likely to be deleted by mods anyway, and thus are nothing but a total waste of your time.
3. Don’t be overly critical of the poster’s evidence. It’s not as easy as it seems to get a picture or video of something unusual, and it’s
even harder to get a good
picture or video of something unusual, disturbing, frightening, or exciting. For example:
Why no good photos?
We all know that a picture doesn’t prove anything, and your
reminding us of it won’t impress anyone.
4. Don’t feed the trolls. If you know
that a particular post is just a bid for attention, trolling for points, or an attempt to start a
fight, just ignore it and move on. No matter how clever, humorous, witty, sarcastic, or accurate your scathing reply is, it only gives the poster
exactly what they want and encourages them to do it again.
5. If you’re going to get into a disagreement or argument with someone, take the time to go read a few threads in the debate forum and see how
it’s done. You can
disagree with someone without personal attacks, insults, focusing on the person instead of the issue, or any other types
of rudeness, disrespect, and discourtesy. If you’re trying to show us that you’re right, don’t lose sight of the fact that most people don’t
really care. If you’re trying to convince others that your position is correct, you’re far more likely to win others to your side through logical,
reasonable, and intelligent debate.
6. Avoid stereotypes, generalizations, bad logic, and dogma. If it you don’t have to think
about it before you type it, it’s probably not
worth typing. “That’s a bird or a balloon,” “you just joined today so you must be a troll,” “everybody knows all ______s are ____,” and
statements like “That can’t be real because it’s a flying saucer and flying saucers aren’t real” contributes nothing to the discussion and
makes you appear just the opposite of smart, cool, or knowledgeable.
7. If you’re going to “debunk” something, make sure the facts and/or evidence supporting your debunk are at least as good as or better than the
original evidence. If it’s a moondog, find a good picture of a moondog to post as evidence. If it’s Venus, at least look up where Venus is and
show us that Venus is in the right position and is bright enough to be what’s in the picture. If you really can do a better fake in photoshop, do it
and post the result! If you’ve seen it disproved on ten different websites, at least give us a link to two or three of them. The “burden of
proof” may be on the poster, but that doesn't absolve you of all responsibility to back up your claims.
[edit on 30-10-2008 by Heike]